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Melville's White Whale and Rex Stout titles bring top dollar at Swann Galleries
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, first American edition, with white endpapers, New York, 1851. Sold for $40,000.
NEW YORK, NY.- Topping Swann Galleries’ June 19 auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature was a first American edition of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick or, The Whale—with white endpapers—New York, 1851, which brought $40,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $18,000 to $25,000, while a scarce fourth edition copy also exceeded expectations, bringing $7,168 in its first time at auction.

The sale featured more than 20 titles by Rex Stout, and all of them found buyers. Record prices were also set for many, including Where There’s a Will, 1940, $9,375; Too Many Cooks, 1938, $7,500; and Over My Dead Body, 1940, $6,500.

Signed and inscribed first editions by Flannery O'Connor, which seldom appear at auction, also set records. These were all signed and inscribed to her former professor and family friend, George Haslam, and included her novel Wise Blood, 1952, $8,750, and her best known collection of short stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1955, $9,375.

From the 19th century were Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, first edition, large-paper issue, one of 100 numbered signed copies, London, 1899, $20,480; Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, first American edition in blue cloth, New York, 1885, $10,000; Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, first editions, London, 1866 and 1872, $7,250; and a scarce first edition of the science-fiction rarity, The History of a Voyage to the Moon, London, 1864, which was previously considered to be by an anonymous or pseudonymous author, but this copy contained an inscription identifying the author as H. Cowen, and sold for a record $8,750.

Also establishing a new auction benchmark was a group of five early first editions by Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff, New York, 1918-23, $6,750. Additional poetry highlights included a set of three first editions of Emily Dickinson’s first three books, Poems, Poems Second Series and Poems Third Series, Boston, 1890-96, $7,500; and an inscribed copy of Robert Frost’s North of Boston, first edition, one of 200 copies in binding F, London, 1914, $4,864.

Rounding out the top lots were John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, first edition, in an unrestored original dust jacket, New York, 1939, $9,375; A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, first American edition of the large paper issue, New York, 1936, $7,500; James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of 2000 copies on handmade paper, London, 1922, $6,500 and Dubliners, first published edition, London, 1914, $5,000.

*All prices include buyer’s premium.



Today's News

July 9, 2014

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Christie's Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings in London realises $77 million

The Huntington Library acquires two paintings by important African American artists

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National Portrait Gallery announces first exhibition exploring the life of Virginia Woolf through portraits

Celebrated sculptor Joel Shapiro creates a new installation work for the Portland Art Museum

Getty Museum presents a retrospective exhibition of works by photographer Minor White

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art presents the work of Gerardo Dottori

Summer exhibition at Laurence Miller Gallery features small works by gallery artists and other greats

Group show curated by Sharon Louden opens at Morgan Lehman Gallery

Exhibition of stamps of the Principality of Liechtenstein on view at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Elizabeth Glaessner's first solo exhibition in New York City opens at P.P.O.W.

Field Broadcast unveils a series of new live broadcast artworks

Exhibition of works by Soon Hak Kwon on view at Union Gallery

Asian Art in London celebrates its seventeenth year

New season of Art21 Art in the Twenty-First Century premieres October 24 on PBS

Unique art exhibition reflecting upon Brazil World Cup 2014 on view in Sydney

Last chance to see: 'India: Jewels that Enchanted the World' at The State Museums of Moscow

National Maritime Museum, London acquires 9 meter long mural

Melville's White Whale and Rex Stout titles bring top dollar at Swann Galleries

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